Characterization of gp120 Hydrolysis by IgA Antibodies from Humans without HIV Infection

Chemical Immunology Research Center, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Hemophilia and Thrombophilia Center, University of Texas-Houston Medical School, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses (Impact Factor: 2.33). 01/2008; 23(12):1541-54. DOI: 10.1089/aid.2007.0081
Source: PubMed


Antibody hydrolysis of the superantigenic gp120 site and HIV-1 neutralization was studied as a potential anti-HIV mechanism in uninfected humans. gp120 hydrolysis by purified serum and salivary antibodies was determined by electrophoresis and peptide sequencing, the proteolytic mechanism was analyzed using electrophilic peptide analogs, and viral neutralization was studied using peripheral blood mononuclear cells as hosts. Polyclonal and monoclonal IgA but not IgG preparations selectively catalyzed the cleavage of HIV gp120 at rates sufficient to predict biologically relevant protection against the virus. The IgA hydrolytic reaction proceeded by noncovalent recognition of gp120 residues 421-433, a component of the superantigenic site of gp120, coordinated with peptide bond cleavage via a serine protease-like mechanism. The Lys-432-Ala-433 bond was one of the cleavage sites. Infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells by a primary isolate of HIV was neutralized by the IgA but not IgG fractions. The neutralizing activity was specifically inhibited by an electrophilic inhibitor of the catalytic activity. The existence of catalytic IgAs to gp120 in uninfected humans suggests their role in resistance to HIV.

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    • "The reversible binding and catalytic properties of the preexisting antibodies may furnish limited innate protection against HIV (Townsley-Fuchs et al., 1996; Planque et al., 2007, 2012b). There is, however, a heavy cost—the failure of adaptive B cell immunity. "
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    ABSTRACT: The immunodominant epitopes expressed by the HIV-1 envelope protein gp120 are hypermutable, defeating attempts to develop an effective HIV vaccine. Targeting the structurally conserved gp120 determinant that binds host CD4 receptors (CD4BD) and initiates infection is a more promising route to vaccination, but this has proved difficult because of the conformational flexibility of gp120 and immune evasion mechanisms used by the virus. Mimicking the outer CD4BD conformational epitopes is difficult because of their discontinuous nature. The CD4BD region composed of residues 421-433 (CD4BD(core)) is a linear epitope, but this region possesses B cell superantigenic character. While superantigen epitopes are vulnerable to a small subset of spontaneously produced neutralizing antibodies present in humans without infection (innate antibodies), their non-covalent binding to B cell receptors (BCRs) does not stimulate an effective adaptive response from B cells. Covalent binding at naturally occurring nucleophilic sites of the BCRs by an electrophilic gp120 (E-gp120) analog is a promising solution. E-gp120 induces the synthesis of neutralizing antibodies the CD4BD(core). The highly energetic covalent reaction is hypothesized to convert the abortive superantigens-BCR interaction into a stimulatory signal, and the binding of a spatially distinct epitope at the traditional combining site of the BCRs may furnish a second stimulatory signal. Flexible synthetic peptides can detect pre-existing CD4BD(core)-specific neutralizing antibodies. However, induced-fit conformational transitions of the peptides dictated by the antibody combining site structure may induce the synthesis of non-neutralizing antibodies. Successful vaccine targeting of the CD4BD will require a sufficiently rigid immunogen that mimics the native epitope conformation and bypasses B cell checkpoints restricting synthesis of the neutralizing antibodies.
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    • "The serine protease-like sites in antibody V domains express catalytic activity in concert with traditional noncovalent antigen-binding interactions. Antibodies with specific proteolytic activity to endogenous and microbial proteins have become available (Wootla et al., 2011; Hifumi et al., 2008; Planque et al., 2007). The next step is to translate the use of catalytic antibodies for cost-effective treatment of disease. "

    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2006
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    ABSTRACT: Immunoglobulins (Igs) in uninfected humans recognize residues 421-433 located in the B cell superantigenic site (SAg) of the HIV envelope protein gp120 and catalyze its hydrolysis by a serine protease-like mechanism. The catalytic activity is encoded by germline Ig variable (V) region genes, and is expressed at robust levels by IgMs and IgAs but poorly by IgGs. Mucosal IgAs are highly catalytic and neutralize HIV, suggesting that they constitute a first line of defense against HIV. Lupus patients produce the Igs at enhanced levels. Homology of the 421-433 region with an endogenous retroviral sequence and a bacterial protein may provide clues about the antigen driving anti-SAg synthesis in lupus patients and uninfected subjects. The potency and breadth of HIV neutralization revives hopes of clinical application of catalytic anti-421-433 Igs as immunotherapeutic and topical microbicide reagents. Adaptive improvement of anti-SAg catalytic Igs in HIV infected subjects is not customary. Further study of the properties of the naturally occurring anti-SAg catalytic Igs should provide valuable guidance in designing a prophylactic vaccine that amplifies protective catalytic immunity to HIV.
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